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Crop Circles: The Quest for Truth (2002)
Not Rated

Starring: Michael Glickman, Colin Andrews and Nancy Talbot

Rating:
***
out of
*****

I've always had in interest in the strange and unusual formations found in many fields all over the world. Known as crop circles -- but rarely composed of just circles -- these designs in wheat, corn and other fields have been attributed to drunken hoaxers, alien intelligence, collective unconsciousness and tornadic activity among other things.

William Gazecki, nominated for an Academy Award for the 1997 documentary Waco: The Rules of Engagement, has turned his investigative sights on the crop circle phenomenon in Crop Circles: The Quest for Truth. The film attempts to provide all sides of the crop circle story through the use of footage, photos and interviews with various scientific and unscientific "experts" in the relatively recent history of crop circle culture.

Several theories are presented, including objects passing through different dimensions and leaving "footprints" in our world and, of course, extraterrestrial life forms attempting to alert us to their presence. Gazecki uses the film's two-hour running time to allow each of these theories to be explored with much more detail than a Discovery Channel documentary might allow. Unfortunately, no background information on any of the people serving up these theories is provided. We're given each person's name and profession ("author" or "researcher", for instance) and that's about it.

Anyone coming in cold on the subject of crop circles might be a little overwhelmed with the material presented here. There is no narrator to explain the basics to the audience and a lot is taken for granted in terms of knowledge about the subject. Although the film does provide a very loose history of the circles and their increasing complexity, there is little shown about their impact on anything outside of the crop circle research community (or "croppies" as they're referred to in the special features material found on the DVD edition of the film.)

There is no denying that the formations themselves are beautiful to behold. Whether they're man-made or a natural phenomena, whatever or whoever is creating them certainly has an a eye for beauty and a feel for aesthetics. The film also does a great job of showing the mathematical underpinnings of each of the earliest known crop circle designs.

Strangely, the film seems geared to counter recent claims in the media that all crop circles are hoaxed. Those crop circles that are known hoaxes are not shown in the film at all. All of those shown are purported to be "genuine." The fact that some are indeed hoaxed is acknowledged and then not really ever dealt with again. It would have been interesting to see what differences there are in the intricacy of a hoaxed crop circle with a "genuine" one.

So, does the film find the answers to the crop circle phenomenon? No, it doesn't. That's not really too surprising, is it?

If you've got a strong interest in crop circles, this is definitely a film you should hunt down and see. If you've just seen Signs and just want to know a little more about them, seeing this film might leave you feeling like you've been hit over the head with a baseball bat. (If you've seen Signs, you'll also get that joke.)

Trivia: Crop Circles: The Quest for Truth was two years in the making. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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